Prime Minister Theresa May invoked art.50 of the Treaty on European Union on 29 March 2017 and gave notice to the European Council of the UK's intention to withdraw from the EU.
On 2 February 2017, the Government published a White Paper: The United Kingdom's exit from and new partnership with the European Union. The White Paper sets out the basis for the Government's priorities and broad strategy for the UK's agreement with the EU, including employment and immigration.
In the Queen's Speech of 21 June 2017, the Government confirmed its plans for a bill that will repeal the European Communities Act 1972, which provides for the UK's membership of the EU. The Repeal Bill will also convert EU law into UK law when the UK leaves the EU. Most EU Directives are already implemented in the UK by regulations or Acts of Parliament. Therefore, employment laws are not expected to change as a result of Brexit, but afterwards will be subject to Parliament's control over domestic law.
The Government also announced in the Queen's Speech that it intends to introduce an Immigration Bill to repeal EU law on immigration, primarily in relation to free movement. Under the Immigration Bill, the migration of EU nationals and their family members will be subject to UK law once the UK has left the EU.
A significant consequence of the UK's full exit from the EU is the removal of the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice over UK law. The final court of appeal will be the Supreme Court. The jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights is unaffected by Brexit.
In terms of timescales, the Government started negotiations with the EU on 19 June 2017 and plans to conclude an agreement on the UK's withdrawal from the EU before 29 March 2019. There will be a "phased process of implementation" after the two-year period to allow time to prepare for the new arrangements. The negotiated agreement between the UK and the EU will be subject to a vote in both Houses of Parliament before it comes into force.
We will continue to provide guidance as the situation develops.
Our new How to guide on Brexit sets out the steps that employers can take to prepare for the UK's exit from the EU and changes to immigration rules.
- What impact will Brexit have on employment law?
- What impact will Brexit have on EU nationals currently working in the UK?
Policies and documents
Audio and video
- Webinar: Managing international assignments in an uncertain world
- Webinar: Brexit - what now for HR? In this webinar, Darren Newman and Annabel Mace discuss what Brexit means for UK employment law, the impact of the leave vote on the immigration status of non-UK EU nationals living and working in the UK and what you can do now to prepare for the UK's exit from the EU.
- Podcast 1: Potential employment law implications of a Brexit In the first of our special podcasts recorded before the referendum, Nicky Stibbs explains how EU employment law is incorporated into UK employment law, including what role is currently played by the European Court of Justice. Nicky also looks at the areas of UK employment law that might be in the firing line.
- Podcast 2: The possible impact of a Brexit In the second of our special podcasts recorded before the referendum, Darren Newman discusses possible employment law implications of a majority vote in favour of leaving the EU, including how to manage concerns of EU employees who are worried about job security.
- Brexit: what is the legal position if employees must relocate?
- Brexit: practical five-point checklist for employers
- Brexit: four example bullying and harassment scenarios
- How to reassure staff after the Brexit vote
- How will Brexit affect employers with EEA workers?
- How does Brexit affect international assignments?
- Brexit: Might the Government's grip on trade unions get tighter?
- What might happen to TUPE when the UK leaves Europe?
- EU referendum: how to get ready for a potential Brexit
- The possible impact of leaving the EU on UK employment law
- EU referendum: 12 European cases that have shaped UK employment law
- EU referendum: no excuse to put off data protection preparations
Commentary and analysis
- Theresa May's Brexit speech: what will it mean for employment?
- EU citizens working in the UK: will the Government listen to employers' wishes?
- Could "associate EU citizenship" become a worthwhile employee perk?
- Queen's Speech 2017: Brexit dominates legislative programme
- Employers unprepared for lower migration after Brexit
- "Brexit brain drain" fears grow as net migration falls
- Brexit bonfire of employment law unnecessary, say employers
- Great Repeal Bill: no immediate changes to workers' rights
- Employment and immigration included in Brexit White Paper
- Brexit to bring tighter controls on immigration, May confirms
- Brexit debate: Government gives no guarantees on worker rights
- Brexit: Labour's 170 questions include the future of employment law
- Great Repeal Bill to hail the end of EU law in the UK
- Brexit secretary vows no change to employment law
- Brexit vote will cause widespread hiring freeze
- Employers face "years of uncertainty" after Brexit vote
- EU immigrants fear discrimination amid Brexit debate
- Brexit: nine in 10 EU workers might not qualify for a visa